Canada--Clergy sex abuse victims again beg synod to defrock archbishop
For immediate release: Thursday, February 12, 2015
Clergy sex abuse victims again beg synod to defrock archbishop
He was the Orthodox Church in America’s highest ranking cleric in Canada
But, his appeal denied, he is now in jail for sexually assaulting a young boy
SNAP to church officials: “No more excuses, follow your abuse policy”
Members of an abuse survivors' group are again urging Orthodox Church in America (OCA) officials to defrock a high ranking clergyman who was found guilty of molesting a child.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say that the denomination has publicly acknowledged that their sex abuse policy requires that clergy who have been convicted of child sexual abuse be laicized by the synod of bishops.
Storheim was convicted in January of 2014 for sexually violating an 11 year old altar boy in Winnipeg. The archbishop was sentenced to 8 months in jail the following July, but appealed both the conviction and the sentence. However, his conviction and his sentence were recently upheld by the appellate court.
The survivors’ group wrote to the OCA’s synod of bishops before their meeting last spring, begging them to follow their policy in Storheim’s case.
SNAP has again written to the synod, again asking them to act at their spring meeting to enforce their own guidelines. The text of the letter, sent today by fax (where available) and email to 12 hierarchs is pasted below. The names and contact information for the bishops follow the text.
“At the risk of repeating myself, this is a no-brainer and should have happened last year,” said Cappy Larson of SNAP. “Both Archbishop Seraphim's guilt and church policy are crystal clear. Now even the appeal is over and the archbishop is serving his sentence. No more excuses, the synod needs to follow its policy!”
“Please,” added Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP, “make sure that this convicted child molester can never again use his religious titles or roles to get access to and hurt another child.”
From 1990 until his forced retirement in March of 2014, Storheim headed the OCA’s Archdiocese of Canada and was based in Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to that he worked in Edmonton and other cities in Alberta, Winnipeg in Manitoba, London, also in Ontario, Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States, and in Finland.
Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was convicted of the sexual abuse of an 11 year old boy on January 24, 2014. That conviction and sentence was recently upheld by the appellate court, and the archbishop is now serving his 8 month sentence. Section 10.05(B) of your Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct states clearly that, “Any Clergy who ... is found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. ..."
Please Gentlemen, Archbishop Seraphim has been found guilty in a court of law of child sexual abuse. Although the judge did not find that there was enough evidence to convict the archbishop of abusing the boy’s twin, his allegation is certainly credible and should also be taken into account.
We know that there is a very active group supporting the archbishop that still refuses to believe in his guilt. No doubt they are pressuring you to abandon your very sensible policy. As members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the three of us know firsthand the devastating effects of child sexual abuse. We are pleading with you to send a strong message to your flocks. If the sexual abuse of children truly is not tolerated in the OCA, defrock Archbishop Seraphim NOW.
Policies do not protect children. Actions protect children. The archbishop has been convicted. Do the right thing and follow your own guidelines.
Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard, Tel: 516-922-0550
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791
Archbishop Nathaniel Popp, Tel: 517-522-4800
PO Box 309
Grass Lake, MI 49240-0309
Archbishop Nikon Liolin, Tel: 508-764-3222
PO Box 149
Southbridge, MA 01550
Archbishop Benjamin Peterson, Tel: 415-567- 9378
1520 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera, Tel: 5784-5198
Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53
Col Penon De Los Banos
Mexico, DF 15520
Archbishop Melchisedek Pleska, Tel: 724-776-5555
PO Box 1769
Cranberry Township, PA 16066-1769
Bishop Mark Maymon, Tel: 570-937-9331
144 St Tikhon's Road
Waymart, PA 18472
Bishop Irenee Rochon, Tel: 613-223-7780
15 LeBreton St. N.
Ottawa, ON K1R 7H1
Bishop Michael Dahulich, Tel: 914-779-6580
33 Hewitt Ave
Bronxville, NY 10708
Bishop Alexander Golitzin, Tel: 419-693-9540
519 Brynhaven Dr.
Oregon, OH 43616
Bishop David Mahaffey, Tel: 907-538-9318
7031 Howard Ave
Anchorage, AK 99504-1899
Bishop Paul Gassios, Tel: 312-202-0420, 202-0424
933 N. La Salle Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610-3204
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.